There are over ten Koreatowns in the states, and some of the most notable ones are in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Whether you live in the city or want to visit a K-town in America, this guide will let you in on all the best ways to make the most out of your time in Koreatown.
What to eat in Koreatown
First, let’s talk about the must-have foods you need to try when you’re in Koreatown. Korean food is one of my favorite cuisines on this planet, and you can find delicious, authentic restaurants in K-town.
1. Korean BBQ
When you’re walking through Koreatown in LA (and trust me, you’d rather be walking than driving in K-Town), you’ll pass by countless KBBQ spots.
You can’t go wrong with any Korean spot, but if you find yourself in LA’s Koreatown, check out Quarters Korean BBQ, located in Chapman Plaza. Be sure to ask for more side dishes and ssam, they’re free!
Luckily, there’s a paid parking lot for guests, and you can head over to Tiger Sugar to enjoy a bubble tea if you need to wait for a table (but if you want the best boba in LA, I recommend leaving K-Town and stopping by Bubble U in DTLA).
2. Korean Fried Chicken
Karaage, Japanese fried chicken, gets a lot of love across the US, but Korean fried chicken deserves some time in the limelight, too.
For the best fried chicken wings you’ll ever have in your entire life (and I mean that), swing by BonChon in Philly, where they hand-batter and double-deep fry their chicken to perfection before using a brush to hand-paint their signature sauce on. Bonchon is serious about their Korean fried chicken—as we all should be.
Sundubu jjigae is a hot and spicy soup made with soft tofu. You can get sundubu in Koreatowns across America, but my favorite spot is Dubu in Philly. The tofu is made in-house, and there are loads of other dishes to try if you’re not in the mood for soup.
While you’re at Dubu, you might want to check out the local H Mart right next door. There’s a food court with tons of vendors, and you can pick up your favorite Korean snacks before heading to your next destination.
What to do and how to have fun in Koreatown
After you’ve eaten enough Korean food, it’s time for entertainment! These are some of my favorite things to do in Koreatown.
In any Koreatown, you’ll find somewhere to do karaoke or noraebang as the locals call it. Remember Dubu? Connected to that restaurant is Duba Karaoke and Pub, where you can grab a drink, rent a private room and sing noraebang to your heart’s content.
In many cases, you’ll find noraebang and nightclubs together in Koreatown, and that’s true of the best Korean nightclub in Los Angeles, the Arena Ultra Lounge. This venue hosts 18+ nights on Thursdays and 21+ nights on Fridays and Saturdays with hip hop and R&B music, special events, seven karaoke rooms and a full kitchen.
Some Korean nightclubs have something called “booking” where men pay waiters to bring female patrons to their table. So don’t be surprised if a random person asks you to sit at a table, you can refuse.
No matter what Koreatown you visit, there are always plenty of shopping opportunities. Be sure to bring enough cash for what you want, whether it’s special souvenirs and trinkets, live plants or fresh fruit!
No visit to a Koreatown is complete without a trip to the spa. It’s the go-to place for Koreans to blow off steam. You can simply relax in the many hot tubs with a variety of temperatures, or go all-in on a body scrub. Being stark naked in front of strangers can be intimidating at first, but you’ll get used to it the moment you feel the hot water. Trust me, your body will thank you.
Conclusion: Having Fun in Koreatown is Easy
Koreatown offers tons of places to eat, drink, shop and have fun—whether you’re in Los Angeles, Philadelphia or somewhere in between.
So, get out there and discover your favorite Koreatown shops! I promise you won’t be disappointed.